A highly decorated student with a degree in business marketing already achieved, Alex Poythress now seeks a master's degree in sports leadership. Conveniently, Kentucky's 2015-16 season can serve as a leadership laboratory.
Poythress has a depth of experience almost impossible to surpass: McDonald's All-American, survivor of unrealized one-and-done expectations, torn anterior cruciate ligament and, maybe strangest of all for a UK player these days, a senior.
"Yeah, it's odd," Poythress said of being a senior. "But it's just one of those situations you have to be blessed and thankful for. Just take advantage of the opportunities you've got, really."
Poythress envisions plenty of chances to lead another freshman-oriented Kentucky team.
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"Off and on the court," he said. "If they need help, just teaching them by example. Telling them what they need to do. Telling them what they're doing wrong (and) what they're doing right.
"I've experienced a lot of things here. I can tell them some of the things I've experienced."
It will be interesting to see how Poythress leads. In his first three seasons, he has exuded a quiet dignity rather than try to motivate by whipping up an emotional froth.
But he didn't see rah-rah tactics as a no-no. He said he's willing to be a vocal leader and confront wayward teammates.
"If I have to," he said. "If I need to, I will. I'm fine with doing that. But I'm going to try to lead by example and make sure everybody is doing right."
UK Coach John Calipari seemed content with whatever way Poythress chooses to lead.
"He's a great kid," Calipari said. "He'll lead this team in his own way."
The larger issue is Poythress's health. The chance to lead diminishes significantly if he's not fully recovered from the ACL he tore in mid-December.
"He's got to get completely where he's comfortable in letting it go," Calipari said. "Right now, he goes (all out). But, you know, there's going to be tentativeness."
Poythress pronounced himself physically ready. "Everything is on schedule," he said. "So I should be good to go when the season starts."
As a Plan B Poythress clearly hopes not to need, he could apply for medical redshirt status for last season.
"It's like a backup plan if something else happens," he said. "But I feel like I'm healthy. I feel I'm more than ready to take the next step."
Calipari invests hope in a position change. The UK coach said he trained Poythress to play small forward the past two-plus seasons because that would be his NBA position. But with all the hype about the pros shifting to "small ball," Poythress can return to power forward.
Poythress downplayed the significance of a switch to power forward.
"It'd be fine as long as I'm on the court making plays, playing to my strengths," he said. "People get too caught up in positions."
Of course, there are differences. At small forward, Poythress had to compete against smaller, quicker opponents. At power forward, he faces larger, slower opponents.
"It's no problem," he said of the differences. "I can guard anybody I need to guard. Offensively, it's pretty much the same stuff with the dribble-drive. All the pieces are interchangeable."
Poythress puts his trust in Calipari. "He'll put me in the best position to succeed," he said.
After all Poythress has been through, his success weighs on Calipari's mind.
"I want this to work for him," the UK coach said. "That he walks away knowing that even though this happened and that happened (it worked)."